El Castillo Hotel

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El Castillo Hotel Fabrega Organizational Center
Valle Hermoso Hotel El Castillo esquina.jpg
The hotel photographed in 2009.
General information
Location Valle Hermoso, Province of Córdoba, Argentina
Coordinates 31°06′47″S 64°28′30″W / 31.11306°S 64.47500°W / -31.11306; -64.47500Coordinates: 31°06′47″S 64°28′30″W / 31.11306°S 64.47500°W / -31.11306; -64.47500
Owner Fabrega Family
Technical details
Floor area 7,000 m2 (75,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect F. Rosas (expansion 1930), Ing. Edgardo R. Fábrega (restoration 2007)

El Castillo Hotel is a building with medieval-style architecture that was built in 1870 and is located in Valle Hermoso (Córdoba), Argentina. Throughout its life under the management of different owners, it has been, in chronological order, a family mansion, a time period hotel, a union summer camp, and a five-star hotel.

El Castillo Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. [1]


Farmhouse of Las Playas Estancia, 1870.
Monte Olivo Hotel, 1930.

The castle was built as the primary farmhouse of the "Las Playas" estancia around 1870, in the town of Valle Hermoso, Córdoba Provincia de Córdoba, Argentine Republic. At the beginnings of the 20th century, the farmhouse was expanded, while conserving its medieval Florentine style, and turned into the luxurious "Hotel Monte Olivo", beautified with floors of granite and parquet, cedar and cinchona cabinetry, Provence furniture, porcelain and silver tableware, bronze bathroom fittings, and wrought iron light fixtures. In the 1930s, the castle passed to the hands of the Italian immigrant Don José Ferrarini[2] , who, a few years later, closed its doors and the building was kept unused for more than thirty years.

From 1970 to 2000, the property was used as a summer camp for the metal workers union ("Unión Obrera Metalúrgica"), and was allotted to student and senior tourism operators. The last years of this phase, EL CASTILLO remained impossible to use due to the deterioration suffered by neglect, lack of maintenance and repeated looting. In 2002, the castle regained its historical value thanks to a four-year restoration, carried out entirely by local workers and craftsmen led by an Argentine family. Since 2006, under the name of “El Castillo Hotel Fábrega Organizational Center” it operates as a hotel specialized in family tourism, corporate events and training programs.


El Castillo has 7000 square metres and four hectares of grounds. In the different modules, the building combines materials such as stone, brick, fine plaster, solid wood, and wrought iron. The windows and doors are straight lines, but are marked with stone arches. The upper finishing has a jagged shape with battlements, and in every angle there are watchtowers. The roofs have flat terraces and inclined surfaces with Spanish tiles. It has 45 rooms of up to 90 square metres.[3]


On March 22, 2010, El Castillo was officially recognized as a five-star hotel by the Córdoba Tourism Agency.[4] It is the first 5 star hotel in the Sierras of Córdoba and the only in the province outside of the capital.[5]

Case Study and Academic Participation[edit]

El Castillo is the first South American hotel that has been analysed by the international academic community. The case study,[6] written by Emeritus Professor Jonathan Story and certified by the INSEAD and RPI Universities, describes how it was possible to create a product that was previously non-existent, that combines family tourism and business training, all while obtaining record numbers of growth and client satisfaction. The analysis shows special emphasis on the high risk that the entrepreneurial family had to overcome, with obstacles such as the profound economic crisis (the December 2001 Crisis in Argentina), lack of credit, remote vendors, expensive technology, changing context, devalued location, and laws contrary to ecotourism.[7] El Castillo has been invited by various universities to present their vision and commitment as a responsible social actor. In 2010, its founders were invited to join the “Fordham Consortium on the Purpose of Business”, an initiative of Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York. In 2013 El Castillo was awarded by the British Argentine Chamber of Commerce with the "First Prize for Sustainable Leadership".


  1. ^ "El Castillo Hotel, a Historic Hotels Worldwide member". Historic Hotels Worldwide. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "José Ferrarini, un lombardo impulsor de progreso en Argentina". Crónicas e Informes (in Spanish). Córdoba: Centro Lombardo de Córdoba, Argentina. Sep 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Los reyes de la restauración". El Inversor y la Construcción (in Spanish). Córdoba. May 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ "5 Estrellas en las sierras". Diario Clarín, iEco (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Grupo Clarín. May 30, 2010. 
  5. ^ "El primer hotel cinco estrellas en las sierras". Diario La Voz del Interior (in Spanish). Córdoba. May 26, 2010. 
  6. ^ Story, Jonathan (2009). El Castillo: The Eco-Fairy Castle. INSEAD. 
  7. ^ "Las empresas argentinas que ya son caso de estudio en el exterior". Revista Apertura (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: El Cronista Comercial.